How to Become a Genetic Counselor

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How to Become a Genetic Counselor. Genetic counselors help people find out if they or a family member have a genetic disease. You could become a genetic researcher or a genetic educator. If you like working with people, listening and helping people through difficult times, and you have an aptitude for genetics, becoming a genetic counselor may be for you.

Go to college. To become a genetic counselor, you need your bachelor's degree in chemistry or biology. A bachelor's degree in psychology, social work or counseling is also acceptable. A master's degree is also helpful, though not required. In addition, you should have earned a GPA (grade point average) of 3.0 or higher during your college years.

Take the GRE test. Most programs require you to score in the 70th percentile. Some programs require that your GRE is specific to biology.

Do some counseling. Many genetic counselor programs require at least 1 year of counseling experience in a clinical setting.

Become certified. Once you receive a master's degree in genetic counseling, you must become certified before you can actually get a job as a genetic counselor. Certification is done through ABGC (American Board of Genetic Counseling). To be certified, you must complete 50 supervised cases and take two exams (one for general knowledge, one specific to genetic counseling) with passing scores on both.

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